Tift Park



Memories of Tift Park

Emails In Response to Rumblings of the 'Sale of Tift Park'

2/17/2014: Are you aware of pending sale of Tift Park?

~ Julie Mayer Bridges ('61)

2/17/2014:  I don't publish "political - type" subjects in the Albany High Times or "News & Clues.  Yet often city decisions are political - just as was the destruction of the Radium Casino. I have had people write to me to post certain political subjects, "... Because you can reach so many people".  I did not; I have wanted to keep the "Times" remembering memories and making connections ...

However as to whether to publish letters concerning the sale of Tift Park, I remembered ... the Albany High Times had its birth in support of SAVING the Casino - by collecting and sending email updates ... and in no time at all, so many Indians began sending memories and outrage ... so I opened a few webpages  on my personal website www.beverlysmithherrington.herringtonhome.com as a way to post those emails.  At the time,  Indians Marion Hay ('55), Joe Ed Rossman ('55), Lynn Garrison Johnson ('82)  and I were serving on the Radium Springs Casino Preservation Group with leaders, Morgan Murphy ('47) and Lamar Clifton ('46) and others.


Tift Park affects Indians who lived/live in that area ... and it contains memories of those who, along with their friends, used the park, the zoo, the pool, and the Wig Wam, etc.  So I am sending the information to Indians of the 50's and 60's, along with a notice to Betty Rehberg ('74) asking her to post on Vintage Albany Georgia FaceBook.  I remember how valiantly she fought for the Broad Ave Bridge.

~ Beverly Smith Herrington ('55)



*** No, I have heard nothing!!! I am posting this in VA (Vintage Albany).

~ Betty Rehberg (í74)


2/17/2014: If apathy still exist in Albany the same as it did when we were working on the Casino Project then they don't have a snow balls chance. Somewhere along the line the white folks in Albany threw in the towel. However, it is worth saving and fighting for!! No city should be without open space for their citizens. In fact most modern cities have built into their subdivision regulations a section that mandates that subdivision developers include open space for their developments. I can't even imagine the City of Albany without Tift Park. Somebody needs to go to the Clerk of Court's Office and pull up a copy of the deed that where the property was deeded to the City of Albany to see if it had a reversion clause in it. Back in those days when property was given to a city for a particular purpose and it ever ceased being used for that purpose then it reverted back to the original grantor's estate. Somebody needs to get a copy of the original deed.
~ Marion Hay ('55)


2/17/2014: This is shocking!!! I guess I've had my head buried in the sand. I knew nothing about it. I wonder how they can do this since it has been on the historical records for a number of years! We don't use the park or hardly ever go by there but it is still a part of "old Albany" and should be kept as is. Back in my young days I just about lived there in the old swimming pool and later taking our girls to see the animals at the zoo.

~ Tommy Pattison ('54)


2/18/2014: I got my first job at the Tift Park Pool working checking in swimmer's clothes and then returning them. It was the summer of my freshman year and I think the next summer as well. The First Baptist Church, where my family went, often had barbeque picnics there consisting largely of Brunswick Stew. I also remember Easter Egg Hunts there. I was so proud of how the zoo grew from a few rabbits, alligators, and gold fish, carp I guess you would call them, to Buffalo Bill, lots of monkeys, otter, a lion, and a lot of animals I can't remember. None of the other towns had anything like that. In the later part of my high school days they built us a teen center. I don't think we took full advantage of it, but it was nice that the teens were thought of. The park needs to be preserved for future generations. It's a part of Albany's history.

~ Dale Briggs Deckert ('57)


2/18/2014: I have the same memories John does of the pool, the animals, the Wigwam, and living in Palmyra Heights, just next door to the Rawson Circle area, we also heard the lion roar. Wonder how he came upon all this information when no one I've talked to has heard a thing about selling the park. I'll keep spreading the word, and thanks for getting it out like this through AHT.
~ Martha LeSueur Nicholson ('56)

2/18/2004: Thank you so much for doing this. I haven't lived in Albany since I went off to college in the fall of '61, but I still regard Albany as HOME. I love Albany.

I grew up across the street from Tift park. Spent many wonderful hours on the swings, the monkey bars, at the zoo, on the tennis courts, and in the pool. And, like John Sherman, I heard the wonderful sounds of the animals in the zoo at all hours of the day and night.

The city gets no tax revenue from this property. It costs money. So I suspect that the motive for selling this property is to get tennants that would pay taxes. We see this happening all over the nation.

I might point out that Gwinnett County has some of the best (if not THE best) parks in the nation. They have received national awards for their parks. There are WONDERFUL parks ALL OVER Gwinnett county. And they are well-used by the citizens of Gwinnett. On any sunny day the parks are FULL of people walking, children playing in the playgrounds, people walking their dogs, sports events, etc., etc. Their parks are a positive drawing point for that county. (See: www.gwinnettparks.com )

Parks, providing all sorts of recreation, are a necessary part of a HEALTHY community. It would behoove Albany and Dougherty County to IMPROVE the existing parks and create MORE parks, accessible to ALL citizens, providing all sorts of recreation. This would make Albany a more appealing destination for corporations to locate there, as well as making the area a more pleasant place for current residents to live.

To destroy a wonderful park is DESTRUCTIVE to the health of the community.

~ Julie (Mayer) Bridges '61

2/18/2014: I can't say I remember the year and grammar school (maybe Flint) but I do remember when we were asked to donate a buffalo nickel to help getting a buffalo for the zoo. Does anyone else remember?

~ Anne West Green ('60)

2/19/2014: All in the name of progress----I canít believe it---just like so many other things that have happened that I canít believe---or refuse to. I remember as children we collected Buffalo nickels to buy a buffalo for the park---that was so much fun and so rewarding. The elephant that was there was glorious, as were all the animals. I took my two older children there when they were young---they are both in their forties now---and they had a wonderful time. There has always been something there for everybody----what a shame that so much of our history is going away---again, all in the name of progress and the almighty dollar.

~ Earline Hayslip Reeves ('61)


2/19/2014: I have such wonderful memories of the park. I loved watching the animals and going to the pool. it was so much fun and to think it was not very deep but just enough to cool off in the hot Albany summers. A very special memory of the park is, every year they had a doll contest. I had several Madam Alexander dolls. I entered one in the contest and she won first place. She had on a beautiful pink evening dress and long blonde curls!

2/22/2014: Tift Park Memories ... THE ZOO! So laid back and relaxing. Red clay tennis courts (my Mom remembered playing there), catcher for soft ball during gym classes in High School THEN in the early 60s taking my 3 yr old son to the swimming pool when visiting grandparents. Mom told me about learning to drive in the sandy lanes. The oak trees and the Spanish moss. Wonderful memories.

~ Cathy Holt Norton ('52)

2/24/2014: For those of you who think the Tift Park issue was not real ... just stay alert ... I received the following email: "I read the article and was appalled that the City Manager, James Taylor, was talking out of both sides of his mouth. In one quote, it says, "We have no intention of selling Tift Park. Absolutely no truth to that." Then further in the article, he grouped it in with a number of other properties that are "offered for sale by auction."


I am going to include articles, letters and emails in the March issue of "News & Clues", and point them to the a new webpage "Tift Park". I just wanted you to know, that I have not changed my mind ... brighter minds than mine have convinced me that this is no more than another chapter in "run-a-rounds" from city management ... and having dealt with the Radium fiasco, I know this game well. I also know from experience ... often the good people of Albany do not win.


I want to thank Betty Rehberg ('74) who put the information on Vintage Albany Georgia. Betty worked valiantly to save the Broad Ave Bridge for a long time, and she knows very well the "ways" of the city. She is fighting her own battle with cancer right now, and yet she did not hesitate to take up the Tift Park battle. I ask that you all keep her in your prayers.

~ Beverly Smith Herrington


2/24/2014: I remember that and it is also for Shackelford park too! Cannot sell it and most old Albanians remember this! Good for the town. There is so little to do in Albany, this should be preserved.

~ Brenda Arnett Darbyshire ('67)


3/8/2014: The public pressure was to much for the City Manager and the Commissioners to handle and they dropped it like a hot potato. I saw one of the Associates with Rowel Realty & Auction Co. at lunch yesterday, the ones who had the property listed for sale, and they told me that the City of Albany had deleted the Tift Property from their sales list because of a reversion clause in the original deed and that they, the city, didn't have authority to sell it. This, in my opinion, was only an excuse because John Sherman had told me early on that there wasn't a deed restriction on the sell of the property. I would think that public pressure was the culprit that caused the city to remove it from the auction list and that there is and never was a reversion clause. You helped excite the public pressure.
~ Marion Hay ('55)





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